[78-L] Alvino Rey and The Kings

Dan Van Landingham danvanlandingham at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 21 19:13:27 PDT 2010

>From what I was told by Dorothy Herfurt(now deceased since 2003 at 76)and from what Welk shows 
that are on PBS(out here in Oregon it's Oregon Public Broadcasting)the lead alto was Dave Edwards
who has since passed on.Who is was before him I don't know.Mahlon Clark was in the sax section;I
remember the stink that was raised when one of the Lennon Sisters married him.He was like 42 at the 
time;she was around 27.I believe it was Kathy Lennon who married him.

From: Jeff Sultanof <jeffsultanof at gmail.com>
To: 78-L Mail List <78-l at klickitat.78online.com>
Sent: Wed, April 21, 2010 5:57:44 PM
Subject: Re: [78-L] Alvino Rey and The Kings

Billy had already signed a publishing deal when he was with Barnet. He was
not happy in the Miller band and suspicious that Miller would take advantage
of him if given the opportunity. As I remember the story, Miller had started
his own company, Mutual Music, and overheard a conversation where Miller's
professional manager was doing a hard sell. Billy was having none of it and
probably told the guy to go to hell. That's when he noticed that Miller had
overheard the entire conversation, gave Billy a withering look and left. The
band was going to break up anyway, so Billy stayed on until the end. Billy
was moonlighting for a couple of bands by that time. Miller was no fool; he
was trying to tie Billy up for anything he wrote for a number of years. He
hired Billy because May was a fine musician, a gifted composer and a trumpet
player; Miller was getting a good return on his investment, and he was
always thinking several years ahead.

Herfurt had a gorgeous sound. I admit I watched the Lawrence Welk show
waiting for his solos every week. Welk really wanted Johnny Hodges, but he
knew that whatever issues Hodges had with Duke, he was not leaving. So Welk
got hold of alto players who had the same approach. I know he had someone
similar before Skeets in the Alto chair. Does anyone remember who it was?

Jeff Sultanof

On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 7:14 PM, Dan Van Landingham <
danvanlandingham at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I had a Bluebird  copy of "The Major and The Minor".I learned how to play
> softly and in tune via Skeets
> Herfurt's alto solo."Strip Polka was in the reverse and it was issued on
> that Reader's Digest set of "The
> Great Band Era".In fact,I memorised Herfurt's solo.Skeets was a good friend
> of mine and we correspon-
> ded via phone from 1982 until he died in April of 1992.Skeets told me of
> those days with Rey as well as
> his days with Tommy Dorsey and his association with Glenn Miller when
> Miller was a part of the Dorsey
> Brothers Orchestra.I wonder if Billy May did the arrangement of "The Major
> and The Minor"?I know that
> May was moonlighting with Rey at the same time he was with Miller.I had
> read,via George T. Simon's bo-
> ok on Miller,that the two didn't part on friendly terms.Miller wanted May
> to sign with one of his music pub-
> lishing companies and he wouldn't."Strip Polka" was just another big band
> arrangement to me.I means not-
> hing."The Major and The Minor" was another record that was a part of my
> "musical reference books".I dug
> the solid,full sound the Herfurt led sax section had.Skeets owned about 15%
> of the band as I recall.He told
> me about how Rey contacted him about joining the band via his ham radio.I
> had spoken to Rey on a few
> occasions the last being in 1994.I wished I had kept in touch with him more
> often;I could say the same thing
> about Jack Sperling who told me of his days with Bunny Berigan and John
> Best and his days with Shaw and Glenn Miller.I don't think John was too fond
> of him either from what I gathered. via our conversations.
> ________________________________
> From: Geoffrey Wheeler <dialjazz at verizon.net>
> To: 78-l at klickitat.78online.com
> Sent: Tue, April 20, 2010 8:04:16 PM
> Subject: [78-L]  Alvino Rey and The Kings
> Speaking of Alvino Rey, Al simmons says:“Good band..good charts. He
> opened with "The Strip Polka"  Hot stuff. Next number "The Major and
> The Minor"
> Earl Bostic made an excellent recording of his and Redd Evans tune “The
> Major and the Minor” for Majestic. The sound is “boxy,” as though it
> were recorded in a closet. The Alvino Rey Bluebird recording of the
> tune is also excellent. Both recordings should be better known.
> A surprising band of the early Forties was Shep Fields’ reeds orchestra
> that recorded for Bluebird. The recordings feature wonderful
> arrangements and playing, and the band swings nicely. When he was
> featured, Charlie Shavers generally took excellent solos that made him
> a distinctive sound and stylist. He could just about blow everybody
> else off the stand. He was also a standout with the Raymond Scott
> Orchestra on CBS stateside and short-wave broadcasts.
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